FATTY LEGS: A TRUE STORY, by Christy Jordan-Fenton & Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, Illustrated by Liz Amini-Holmes, Annick Press


The moving memoir of an Inuit girl who emerges from a residential school with her spirit intact.

Eight-year-old Margaret Pokiak has set her sights on learning to read, even though it means leaving her village in the high Arctic. Faced with unceasing pressure, her father finally agrees to let her make the five-day journey to attend school, but he warns Margaret of the terrors of residential schools.

At school Margaret soon encounters the Raven, a black-cloaked nun with a hooked nose and bony fingers that resemble claws. She immediately dislikes the strong-willed young Margaret. Intending to humiliate her, the heartless Raven gives gray stockings to all the girls — all except Margaret, who gets red ones. In an instant Margaret is the laughingstock of the entire school.

approx. 112 pages

Out September 2010


I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

Where has this book been hiding? I can’t believe it was missed by my radar.

Not only an eye-opener, but what a hard-hitting, kick to the gut read. As a Canadian, I can’t tell you how wrong this story felt. What happened to this little girl should not have been allowed. The abuse under the guise of a Roman Catholic nun…

As a historian buff, I’ve read a lot of stories about repression, suppression and intolerance. I hate every one of those stories but love the fact that they are out there revealing all the hidden ugliness humans are capable of. All are written beautifully, just like this one. So I guess you could say it’s a love/hate relationship.

For the life of me, why can’t we all accept each other including all our differences? As a parent to a special needs child, I could curl your toes with horror stories that my daughter endured throughout her very short life by way of our educational system, religion and society… so I’m especially thankful for this book.

More stories like this one need to be told. People need to celebrate our differences, it’s what makes us so unique as a species. Kudos to the authors for writing this story and to the brave little girl for standing strong and firm against so many odds.  Children need to know that their voice is as important as any adult and they have the right to voice their concerns, fears and worries when facing abuse from any adult in any situation.

Keeping true to her spirit and beliefs shows a strong character. I’m not so sure I could endure as much as she had, and I’m an adult. Canada has made many mistakes throughout history, many horrific decisions that harmed so many and I can only hope with stories such as this one, that valuable lessons can be taken away and used toward avoiding repeating the same mistakes again.

This is definitely a book for the library and schools.

I gave it:




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